February 9, 2011

Conspiracy theories

Southee's mid-air relationship has NZC in a Twitter

Andrew Miller

The New Zealand fast bowler, Tim Southee, most definitely did not get up to no good with a female passenger, en route to the World Cup, according to a team spokesman who was forced to deny rumours that one of his players had elected to join the infamous Mile High Club during the squad’s flight to Dubai.

After an internal investigation, a written statement, a team meeting, and several eye-witness accounts of nothing untoward whatsoever, the Kiwis’ team manager, Dave Currie, was able to confirm that "Tim met a female passenger on board the plane and spent some time with her, however we are confident that nothing inappropriate happened between them."

According to local media reports (and rampants rumours in Twitterverse), a fellow passenger had complained of witnessing “the worst kind of lewd behaviour” in the first-class compartment of an Emirates flight from Sydney to Dubai. "It appears pretty innocent really,” said the chief executive of NZC, Justin Vaughan, who nevertheless felt obliged to spell out on television just how innocent it had actually been.

"I think Tim met a female passenger and struck up a conversation,” said Vaughan. “They spent a bit of time and had a drink together on the plane. At some stage the female passenger came to Tim's seat and perhaps spent a maximum of 30 seconds with Tim, and there may well have been, dare I say it, a kiss on the cheek, but that was it. She went back to her seat, and Tim is adamant that nothing inappropriate, nothing untoward, occurred."

It was left to the former seamer-turned-pundit, Simon Doull, to provide the definitive verdict on the matter. “Tim Southee story blown out of proportion,” he pronounced on Twitter. “At times us media do look for the negative. Single man, single woman on plane. Any real problem?” Clearly not ...

Andrew Miller is the former UK editor of ESPNcricinfo and now editor of The Cricketer magazine

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